DepressionYoung Man and His Dog

Living with depression can pose unique challenges each and every day. The condition can make it difficult to keep energy levels high and hope, ambition, and drive alive. This results in the need for healthy coping mechanisms that can set you forth on the proper path to recovery.

For many, depression medications have resulted in inconsistent levels of effectiveness, forcing them to seek alternative ways to cope with their depression in a healthy way. At TMS Center of Lehigh Valley, we’re always looking for ways to make your struggle with mental health easier.

Check out these eight healthy ways to cope with your depression when medication just doesn’t seem to be enough.

Speak to a Therapist

Teenage Boy Meeting with Therapist

Professional therapy performed by a licensed psychologist is often an important part of successfully managing conditions like depression.

For many, talking through your issues and daily struggles with someone who understands what you’re going through can improve self-esteem, help you switch from negative to positive thinking, and practice healthy stress management.

Needing professional intervention to cope with your depression doesn’t make you weak. In fact, having the courage to seek professional assistance is sometimes the bravest thing you can do.

Express Yourself Through Writing

Young Lady Writing

If you aren’t comfortable talking out your struggles and feelings with another person right away, expressing yourself through writing and journaling can be a great alternative.

Being open and honest about your feelings through writing can relieve stress, and that is an important step in overcoming depression. A private, personal journal allows you to fully explore your thoughts without fear of judgment.

This can be a great way to release pent-up aggression, and you’ll be amazed how much better you feel after putting pen to paper for a few minutes each day.

Stay Involved With Others

Man Eating with Friends

Depression is a lonely disorder by nature. Low self-esteem and lack of motivation can make it all too easy to withdraw from your friends, family, and the rest of society. That said, a healthy social life and frequent interaction with others is very important.

Sometimes, pushing yourself to stay involved in the lives of others can keep you from spiraling into a deeper depressive state. Even if you have second-thoughts after committing to a social event, you’ll be surprised at how much it can help when you actually go through with it.

Even simple activities like taking in a movie, sharing a brisk walk, or reaching out to a close friend can help lift your spirits and avoid prolonged periods of isolation.

Stick to a Schedule

Sticky Notes and a Calendar

Adhering to a regular routine has been shown to be very helpful to those who struggle with depression. Since depression can make you unproductive and fuel feelings of low self-esteem, giving yourself something to look forward to can fend off unwanted thoughts.

Try scheduling one activity each day that you really enjoy doing. This way, you can focus your thoughts and energy on whatever it is you’re looking forward to rather than letting your thoughts wander.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Bowl of Nuts and Fruits

As is the case with any disease, proper diet and nutrition can play a significant factor in your ability to fight back.

Some studies have shown that a higher daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in foods like salmon and other fish, can actually improve your mood just by being in your system.

Furthermore, sticking to a healthy diet can keep your body young, fit, and healthy, which in turn can make you feel more attractive and boost your self-esteem.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Young Woman Sleeping

While we’re on the subject of healthy habits, you should always try to get into the habit of getting plenty of rest each and every night.

People with depression often experience noticeable sleep disturbances, and this can take the form of both too little and too much sleep. The best way to keep your nightly rest in check is by setting specific times for waking up and going to bed.

Inconsistent sleep patterns can make you feel exhausted and fatigued, exacerbating symptoms of depression and making it more difficult to be social, manage stress and get exercise. Speaking of exercise…

Exercise Regularly

Man Doing Bicep Curls

It’s no secret that exercise offers a wealth of physiological benefits that can better equip you in your battle against depression. In fact, physical activity has been shown time and time again to relieve stress and improve mood.

The satisfaction you’ll receive from engaging in and finishing a particularly challenging workout is a great tool for fighting back against mental health issues. Not only will it instill a feeling of pride in your ability, it will also make you stronger and more physically fit, raising your self-esteem substantially.

Even simple exercises like walking the dog or doing some light yoga can dramatically improve your mood and help you feel more energized.